Menu Monday 8

menu MondayLinking up with Mary Ellen Barrett’s weekly feature!

A few changeups of note from last week:

On Monday I took the night off and got Chick-Fil-A for myself and the Kid. Hubs called just before I started cooking to say he’d be so late that he and his team at work had ordered pizza.

Friday, Big Brother was supposed to come home for dinner and we were supposed to have fish. But his car (Hubs’ old 2002 Hyundai, with over 170,000 miles on it) broke down JUST before he got onto a terrifyingly busy Philadelphia highway during the afternoon rush (thank you, Guardian Angel!) I had to feed the Kid at a reasonable hour, so while Hubs rescued Big Brother, I revamped that fish plan. I needed some comfort food, plain and simple, and something that I could keep warm until the guys were home. So I cut up half a pound of swai fillets and mixed it into Barbara Mahany’s mac n cheese recipe and served that with a salad. Big Brother suggests that next time I season it with Old Bay. It was GOOD STUFF.

Grace Before MealsSaturday, BOTH the Big Kids were home for dinner, and I was a happy mom, even though the Notre Dame football game didn’t go the way I wanted it. We had steak fajitas based on Father Leo Patalinghug’s recipe. I guess I’ve changed it up enough that I can write up how I do them. I highly recommend this cookbook!

I’m not assigning days to this week’s meals. Here’s what we’re having. I have all the ingredients for all of these meals, and I’m going to pick and choose as the mood strikes.

Here’s what’s in the plan:

Miss Jill Chicken, French fries, vegetable. The Kid would eat this 5 times a week if I’d let him!

Asian wraps 1Asian turkey wraps, fried rice

Sarah Reinhard’s beef & noodles, carrots. This one needs a write-up too!

Chicken tacos, fiesta potatoes, salad

Spaghetti and meatballs, salad

Not-So-Spicy Peanut Pork, rice. I’m subbing in strips of boneless pork chops for the chicken in this recipe.

Friday is a night off: the Kid has a dinner for the youth theater company he belongs to. I have a rehearsal. Hubs will be on his own.

Menu Monday 6

menu Monday
A new week, a new menu plan and a new schedule around here! I’m linking up with Mary Ellen’s Menu Mondays feature.

On Friday I was asked to take a long-term substitute assignment for one of the second-grade teachers at Little Brother’s school. I’ll probably be working full time through Thanksgiving. This is the first time I’ve worked full time since I’ve had kids, and it is going to mess with the household schedule for sure!

spaghetti 5
When I make spaghetti sauce and meatballs, I make enough to fill this 12-qt. turkey roaster. BONUS: I don’t have to be home to stir it every 20 minutes and it doesn’t splatter all over the stove.

SUNDAY:  I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce with meatballs for the freezer, and served Chicken Parmesan made from some of the sauce.

MONDAY:  Leftover pot roast, noodles, mixed vegetables.

TUESDAY:  Chicken piccata bites, asparagus, mashed potatoes.

WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs, salad.

THURSDAY:  Chicken enchiladas, rice (doubled so we’ll have enough to make Friday’s dinner) and salad. Here’s the recipe I use for enchilada sauce. Little Brother will probably just have chicken tacos. That’s the beauty of dishes like this–it’s easy to adjust for people who don’t like delicious things like enchilada sauce.

Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice
Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice

FRIDAY:  Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice with steamed snow peas.

SATURDAY:  the folk group is assigned the 5:00 Mass this weekend instead of our usual noon on Sunday. I invited everyone back here after Mass (I live closest to the church) for a potluck dinner. I’ll be serving Vodka Pasta.

Menu Monday 5

menu Monday

I’m linking my menu plan over at Mary Ellen Barrett’s Menu Monday feature.

Here’s some good stuff that someone linked to on Facebook yesterday:  8 dinnertime tips from Mario Batalli. This is not serious-chef stuff–it’s simple strategies that make home cooking easier.

make and take coffee cake (1)SUNDAY:  We visited friends and had Chinese takeout. I brought dessert:  Make-and-Take Coffee Cake with apples. This cake is so easy to make, which was great, because with Mass at noon followed by rehearsals for both me and Little Brother, there wasn’t time to fool around.

Easter ham and cheese bakeMONDAY:  I’m putting together a Ham and Cheese Bake for dinner and leaving Little Brother directions for putting it in the oven to bake; I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the late afternoon and Little Brother has a rehearsal in the early evening. Cutting it CLOSE! I think the only thing I dread more than a gynecologist appointment is the dermatologist, which is the one I’m seeing today. With my family history, it’s always a stressful experience (we’re Irish. Need I say more?)

TUESDAY:  Pot roast in the slow cooker, noodles and gravy. And a vegetable of some sort. Shame on me:  my gravy comes out of a can. Maybe someday I’ll learn to make the Real Thing.

WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs, our Wednesday-night tradition! I might change it up and serve cheese tortellini instead of regular pasta.

Tandoori (4)THURSDAY:  Tandoori chicken, roasted asparagus, and roasted potatoes. All in the oven at the same temperature, and it’s all easy to clean up if you line the pans with foil. Since Little Brother has an early-evening rehearsal, I’m all about making it easy.

singapore noodles 4FRIDAY:  Singapore Noodles with Shrimp. I can’t figure out if Little Brother likes this because he gets to squeeze lime juice all over everything or what, but he’s a big fan of this dish. And it’s not too hard to make!

SATURDAY:  Leftovers.

Menu Monday 4

menu Monday

I’m linking up with Mary Ellen Barrett’s Menu Monday feature.

It’s Columbus Day morning, and there’s no school today! I subbed 3 1/2 days last week and (so far) am down for one day this week. I’m going to savor this day “off,” do lots of laundry, clean up around here, FINALLY roast the chicken I FINALLY got, and maybe even bake a little.

2014-09-11 18.22.54
Not-So-Spicy Peanut Chicken

SUNDAY:  I realized yesterday that between my rehearsal for the Festival of Lessons and Carols (coming in December!) and the Kid’s audition for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (also coming in December!) there was no way I’d have time to roast a chicken. Plan B was magically delicious and super-quick:  Not-So-Spicy Peanut Chicken (but with a twist. I had no bell peppers, so I just used a whole onion and served the stir-fry over broccoli.

MONDAY:  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots.

Miss Jill's Chicken
Miss Jill’s Chicken

TUESDAY:  From the Department of We Didn’t Have This Last Week, Pork chops with fennel and oregano, Portuguese rice, vegetable. I still have to write up that pork recipe. It’s based on a Frugal Gourmet recipe and tastes like Italian sausage!

WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs. Pasta Night is back to Wednesdays, at least for this week. I still have to see how the Kid’s rehearsal schedule is going to affect things.

THURSDAY:  Miss Jill’s Chicken, roasted potatoes with zatar seasoning, vegetable.

Pan-Seared Cod
Pan-Seared Cod

MEATLESS FRIDAY:  Pan-Seared Cod with Mandarin Orange Sauce. I’m still figuring out the side dishes.

SATURDAY:  Fiesta Chicken Tacos, cilantro-lime rice, raw vegetable platter. I’ll be doubling or maybe even tripling this recipe so I can have quick and easy taco filling in the freezer for dinner emergencies!

Fiesta Chicken Tacos
Fiesta Chicken Tacos

SUNDAY:  The Kid and I BOTH have rehearsals at nearly the same time. I have to work out his transporation to his rehearsal and we’ll need an easy-to-prepare dinner afterward. Hamburgers, baked beans and a pasta salad might do the trick!

Now that I have this week’s plan figured out, it’s time to work out how we’re all going to get through the next 2 months of rehearsals times two. I foresee a lot of triple batches and Survival Dinners in our future! Stay tuned!

Menu Monday 3

menu MondayLinking up with Mary Ellen Barrett’s Menu Monday feature.

IMG_0237-0As I suspected, we didn’t keep to the plan last night. We went to the diner instead.

And after I posted this menu plan this morning, I headed to the supermarket to get the roasting chicken we were supposed to eat tonight. But they didn’t have any. THIS is why I write the menu plan in pencil.

MONDAY:  Chipotle pork carnitas with rice and Burrito Beans.

TUESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs (I’m switching it up and fully expect that there will be a small mutiny because pasta night has migrated to Tuesday!)

WEDNESDAY:  Pork chops with fennel and oregano, Portuguese rice, vegetable. I still have to write up that pork recipe. It’s based on a Frugal Gourmet recipe and tastes like Italian sausage!

Monday's dinner: burrito bowls.
Monday’s dinner: burrito bowls.

THURSDAY:  Chicken and noodles

FRIDAY:  Pizza

SATURDAY:  Leftovers

SUNDAY:  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and carrots–IF ShopRite has chickens the next time I get there.



Menu Monday 2

menu MondayI’m linking up with Mary Ellen Barrett’s weekly menu feature.

Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice
Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice

Here’s our menu for the week, including one carryover item since our Friday dinner became Last-Minute Shrimp Fried Rice. (You won’t believe the secret ingredient!)

Little Brother making the Chicken Adobo.
Little Brother making the Chicken Adobo.

MONDAY:  Slow-cooker Chicken Adobo with rice.

TUESDAY:  Tacos and a salad.

WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs (our Wednesday tradition!)

THURSDAY:  Beef and noodles–a new recipe from Sarah Reinhard, who keeps telling me she can’t cook, but knows how to make gravy. I haven’t mastered that skill! If I manage not to ruin this, I’ll include the link in next week’s menu post. On the side:  green beans.

MEATLESS FRIDAY:  Vodka pasta and a salad.

SATURDAY:  We’ll be eating at the Polish Kitchen at our parish’s Fall Festival. I’m looking forward to some homemade kluski and golabki.

skillet chicken noodles
Skillet Chicken & Noodles

SUNDAY:  Chicken and noodles. Maybe. I just realized just how many times we’re having noodles or pasta, all in a row. (Not that I mind, because I could eat noodles every day of the week.) So this one might change.

As always, I write my menus in pencil because who knows what the week will bring? On Friday, for example, I spent the morning as I usually do:  volunteering in the school library. I left at 11:35 and said goodbye to the secretary, who called my cell phone 10 minutes later as I parked the van in my driveway. They needed an emergency sub for the afternoon in second grade. I didn’t remember to take out the pasta sauce to defrost when I ran inside to grab my Substitute Teacher’s Bag of Tricks, so we had to go to Plan B, which was magically delicious.

Menu Monday: Dinner for 3

menu Monday

I’m joining up with Mary Ellen’s Menu Monday feature. I used to publish meal plans, way back when, and I do miss that!

IMG_0237-0This is no guarantee I’ll stick to this plan, but that’s why I do my menu plan in pencil. I have everything I need to make all these dishes already on hand except for the rolls and provolone for Tuesday’s dinner and the fresh produce.

My biggest cooking challenge right now is Dinner for 3. It’s been a whole month since Middle Sister left for college, and over 6 weeks since Big Brother moved to a townhouse near his job. I haven’t yet gotten the hang of cooking in smaller quantities. When Middle Sister was living here, I usually just cooked for 5 even if she wasn’t home for dinner, because she’d eat the leftovers at midnight while working on homework, or for breakfast, or after school. I’m trying to scale back, but I’m still eating a steady diet of leftovers for lunch every day.

Here’s the plan:

MONDAY:  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans. I’m still in the habit of buying the biggest Oven Stuffer I can get. We’ll eat the drumsticks, thighs and wings tonight, and the white meat will be frozen for future dinners. Based on the size of this chicken, we’ll get 4 meals out of it, and I’ll use the carcass to make some broth, too.

TUESDAY:  Roast-beef sandwiches with provolone on Italian rolls and a salad on the side. Easy dinner before Little Brother’s soccer practice.

WEDNESDAY:  Spaghetti and meatballs (we have this almost every Wednesday! It’s folk-group practice night, and this is easy to cook and clean up before we have a houseful of musicians. I host folk-group practice AKA Music Therapy; people bring their kids, we celebrate birthdays, and, oh yeah, we practice Sunday’s music, too!)

piccata bites 3THURSDAY:  Chicken piccata bites with rice and a vegetable to be named later.

MEATLESS FRIDAY:  Vodka pasta and a salad. (Pre-soccer-practice fuel!)

SATURDAY:  Takeout pizza. This is our one weekend a month when we play at the 5:00 Mass, and we’re busy ALL day.

LaSalle explorersSUNDAY:  “Miss Jill Chicken” with potatoes and a vegetable. This is a quick and easy dish, which is not usually needed on a Sunday, but we’re going to Mass and brunch for Family Weekend at LaSalle to see Middle Sister. Big Brother will be there too!